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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  November 23, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PST

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11/23/15 11/23/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> will jump has been a center for illegals weapons trade for decades. shipments to conflicts like angola, traditionally have taken off. and that commerce has led to the easy availability of weapons. and that is a very dangerous development. amy: belgium's capital city of
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brussels is on its highest alert as residents remain on lockdown, people are being told to stay away from their windows, schools remain closed, as police and soldiers carry out raids in the search for suspects in the paris attacks. we will speak with belgian human rights activist peter bouckaert. covering thedes war and for the last few months again to refugees coming to europe mostly from syria, afghanistan, and iraq. he will talk about the refugee crisis and about what he calls the marginalized ghettos in european cities where many migrants live, including the brussels suburb where some of the paris attackers reportedly lived. then to the war here at home, 130 people died in the paris attacks. on average, nearly 100 americans are killed in gun violence every day. we will speak with one of the mayor's leading the charge for stricter gun control.
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>> willing to get together to fight crime or the fact that we despiseee -- agree to violence murder, we have to equally detest poverty and an employment. how can we pledge to work against the food of the tree, but of the tree itself that gives producing the same fruit? mayore will speak with ras baraka, son of poet amiri baraka. all of that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. belgian authorities have arrested 16 people in a series of overnight raids as residents of the capital brussels remain locked in their homes. belgium has imposed the highest threat level for brussels as officials scour the city for salah abdeslam, a main suspect in the deadly attacks in paris. residents have been told to stay away from the windows as public transportation, schools and
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museums have all been shut down. the belgian federal prosecutor said abdeslam was not among those arrested in last night's raids. >> the federal prosecutions office in the brussels investigating specialized in terrorist cases ordered a total of 19 house searches in the brussels region. until now am a no firearms or explosives were found. among theslam is not persons arrested during the searches. amy: mali has begun three days of national mourning after 19 victims and two gunmen died in an assault on the radisson blu hotel friday in the capital bamako. six of the victims were malian while 13 were foreign nationals, including u.s. aid worker anita datar. three islamist militant groups have claimed responsibility for the attack, including al qaeda in the islamic maghreb.
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islamophobic incidents have continued in the united states following the attacks in paris. on thursday, two men were temporarily barred from boarding a southwest flight from chicago to philadelphia after a passenger heard them speaking arabic. in texas, meanwhile, armed protesters rallied outside the islamic center of irving, decrying the "islamization of america." speaking in malaysia at a summit of southeast asian nations, president obama said prejudice and discrimination would only aid the islamic state, which he pledged to hunt down and destroy. isil on thetroy battlefield -- and we will destroy them -- we will take back land that they are currently in. we will cut off their financing. we will hunt down her leadership -- their leadership. we will dismantle their networks and the supply lines and we will ultimately destroy them, even as
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we are in the process of doing that, we want to make sure that we don't lose our own values and are own principles. amy: republican frontrunners donald trump and ben carson have both indicated they would revive waterboarding and other forms of bush-era torture as part of the fight against isil. trump also ramped up his rhetoric saying he wanted surveillance of certain mosques. trump's remarks at a rally in birmingham, alabama were , interrupted by an african-american man who shouted, "black lives matter." trump shouted, "get him the hell out of here," and a group of trump's supporters surrounded the activist, mercutio southall, jr., kicking and punching him. trump defended their actions in a fox news interview sunday. >> i don't know, rough up yet
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though maybe he should've been roughed up because it was disgusting what he was doing. this was not handled the way bernie sanders handled his problem, i will tell you, but i have a lot of fans and it were not happy about it. this was a very of noxious guy who was a troublemaker, who is looking to make trouble. i did not get to see the event. amy: donald trump also retweeted a graphic of racially biased, fabricated crime statistics, which falsely claimed, for example, that 81% of white murder victims are killed by african-americans. actually 82% of white murder , victims are killed by other whites. in northern burma, at least 100 people have been killed in a massive landslide near a jade mine. the landslide engulfed a settlement of sleeping mine workers, killing entire families. about 100 more people remain missing. in argentina, right-wing buenos aires mayor mauricio macri has won the presidential race, ending 12 years of leftist government. macri will replace president cristina fernandez de kirchner
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next month after defeating her chosen successor. his victory is seen as a boon for u.s. hedge funds who have sought to profit off argentina's debt. in iran, "washington post" reporter jason rezaian has been sentenced to an unspecified prison term. rezaian has been jailed for the past 16 months on charges including espionage. the "washington post" has maintained his innocence and the obama administration has called for his immediate release. pharmaceutical giant pfizer has sealed a more than $150 billion merger with fellow drug maker allergan, marking one of the largest takeovers in the history of the healthcare industry. because allergan is headquartered in ireland, the deal will allow pfizer to avoid billions in u.s. taxes. it's believed to be the largest example to date of a so-called tax inversion, where a u.s. firm acquires a firm based overseas in order to dodge u.s. taxes. in louisiana, democratic candidate john bel edwards has
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defeated u.s. senator david vitter in a surprise victory to become the next governor of louisiana. edwards has pledged to sign an executive order authorizing the expansion of medicaid, extending insurance coverage to an estimated 225,000 people. edwards opposes abortion and gun control, and his election comes as at least 16 people have been injured in a shooting in new orleans. doug hughes, the florida mailman who landed a gyrocopter on the lawn of the u.s. capitol in april to call for campaign finance reform, has pleaded guilty to a single felony count of operating the tiny personal aircraft without a license. hughes faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 at his sentencing in april. hughes landed on the capitol lawn carrying letters to every member of congress urging them to pass campaign reform. speaking friday, hughes said his flight exposed security gaps and brought attention to money in politics. >> i don't think there's any
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security breach now. was a favorite terms of security, that i didn't do it over security, i did it because i wanted to bring attention to money and politics and restoring democracy. amy: a new estimate by wells fargo projects a record $6 billion will be spent on political advertising in the 2016 election season, a 16% increase over 2012. human rights activists converged in georgia over the weekend for the annual protest calling for the closure of the u.s. military training school known as the school of the americas. now called the western hemisphere institute for security cooperation, the school at fort benning, georgia has trained latin american military leaders and dictators accused of presiding over massacres and torture. this year, protesters also called for the closure of stewart immigrant detention center in georgia. 11 people were arrested for civil disobedience at the
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private prison. the protests come as newly released documents show the fbi monitored and infiltrated the peace group school of the americas watch, which organizes the annual rally. documents obtained by the partnership for civil justice fund show that despite repeatedly acknowledging its activities were peaceful, the fbi spied on the group with counterterrorism units and confidential informants for a decade. and in cleveland, ohio, family members and supporters gathered sunday at the park where the 12-year-old, african american boy tamir rice was fatally shot by a white police officer one year ago. tamir rice was playing with a toy gun when police pulled up and shot him within two seconds of their arrival. a 911 caller reported seeing rice with a gun, but noted the gun was probably fake. a grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case. last month, the county prosecutor's office released an
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expert report, calling the shooting clearly objectively reasonable. tamir rice's mother samaria addressed supporters at the vigil for tamir. >> i thank you guys for all of the warm love and thoughts as well. i encourage you guys to get and i'm in a movement, fighting for justice for all our children. amy: in minneapolis, minnesota, meanwhile, the justice department says it will investigate the police shooting of 24-year-old african-american jamar clark. authorities said clark was shot after a scuffle with officers following a report of an assault. multiple witnesses have said clark was shot while handcuffed. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. residents of the belgian capital of brussels remain locked in their homes as police and soldiers search the city for suspects linked to the attacks
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on paris 10 days ago that killed 130 people. overnight raids resulted in 16 arrests. no guns or explosives were found, and salah abdeslam, the main suspect in the paris attacks who drove to brussels afterwards, remains at large. meanwhile, belgian prime minister charles michel says brussels will remain under the country's highest level of security threat, meaning the threat of an attack is serious and imminent. residents have been told to stay away from their windows, and authorities have shut down the city's public transportation, schools, and museums. brussels is also the capital of the european union. those offices will remain open under increased security patrols. for more we turn to peter bouckaert, human rights watch's emergencies director. he has spent decades covering war. he spent the last few months speaking to refugees coming to europe mostly from syria, afghanistan, and iraq. posting messages on twitter, bouckaert has helped expose the realities of life for refugees fleeing violence at home. he was one of the first people to share images of alan kurdi, the three-year old syrian boy
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who drowned off a turkish beach. bouckaert was in new york last week. we spoke to him about the refugee crisis. but first he described his home country of belgium and its capital, brussels, and what he called the city's marginalized ghettos in european cities where many migrants live. he spoke in particular of the conditions in a suburb of brussels called molenbeek, where some of the attackers came from. >> several of the attackers have come from marginalized suburb of brussels. where the attack appears to have been planned. many other prior terrorist attacks were also planned. it's also a weapons shipment -- a place where weapons are very easily available. and i think there's two lessons to be drawn from this aspect. the first is that it's -- and that's an important lesson for the united states. when we do take refugees -- or migrants, for that matter --
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it's very important to integrate them into our societies, to give them the language skills and the support they need to become productive members of our societies. and one of the gravest mistakes that europe has made, several decades ago, is to put people in these marginalized ghettos, basically, where extremism has built. so that's why it's so dangerous, the policies that u.s. governors are adopting, because they cannot stop these refugees from coming to their states -- that's a federal decision -- but they can stop them from having the support they need to be integrated into their communities, and that could actually present a threat in the future. amy: talk more about molenbeek. >> so it is a neighborhood where weapons are easily available. amy: why? >> because belgium has been a center for the illegal weapons trade for decades. it's where shipments to conflicts like angola traditionally have taken off.
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and that commerce has led to the easy availability of weapons. and that is a very dangerous development, because for just a few thousand dollars, you can buy kalashnikovs and other weapons of war on the black market in belgium. amy: were you surprised when you heard about this connection between the paris attackers, some of them, and molenbeek in brussels, belgium? >> i was not really surprised, because i've been working on the syrian conflict for many years, and we have seen many people from these areas of belgium and france heading to fight in syria. and, you know, there's been this focus on this fake passport, when europe really should be focusing more on the marginalized muslim communities at home and try to better meet their needs, make sure that young people are educated and have jobs available, because the reality is that the majority of these people who carried out the
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paris attacks were french citizens -- some of them resident in molenbeek -- who have been living in france all of their lives. amy: tell us the stories of people. final think people care about refugees when you say one million, say 1000, until you hear the story of one person. peopleve met so many and ateir own tragic times inspiring stories. i have met many syrians who made this journey and actually stayed in greece to help their fellow syrians when they arrived. but one person who touched me quite a bit is a doctor from syria. he made this journey and i met him about two months ago in hungary where he was sleeping on the streets. and just imagine you've spent , diggings in syria people out of the rubble and saving the lives at the hospital -- your hero, really stop and
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you end up on this journey of utter humiliation. i wrote about him, and my last line of the piece i wrote said he's now in austria, one step closer to achieving his dream of continuing his medical studies in germany. and he contacted me from germany and said, "actually, the last line is not right, because my dream is to be back in syria." amy: tell us the journey he took. explain how people go from syria. >> so for most of these people, they have to sell their land and their house and borrow very heavily from neighbors and from family to make this journey because they have to pay smugglers incredible amounts of money. been they have to cross the border into turkey, often illegally, over razor wire fences, and then they have to make their way to the smugglers, who they pay about $1200 at least, sometimes much more, to be pushed onto these boats.
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and all of them are being told the journey will be safe, there will be 30, 35 people on the boat. but when they arrive on the coast, up to 55, 60 people are pushed onto these boats. and the smugglers have guns to force people to take off. there's nobody to guide these boats. one of the refugees is given the handle of the engine on this rubber boat, and then they set out at sea. many of the boats break down at sea and drift for hours. we've talked to people who have been at sea for as long as two days. sometimes the boats are attacked by vigilantes. amy: and where do they go in this boat journey? >> they go from turkey, from the turkish coast to the greek islands. and the numbers have been growing exponentially. in july, 24,000 people arrived on the island of lesbos. in august, it was up to 50,000. and by september, it was 111,000. amy: so how many a day? >> it can be up to 5000, 8000 people a day.
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so that means 100 boats. amy: 100 boats. >> and you just do the math. i did the math, and the smugglers are making over $100 million off the plight of these people. amy: and then what happens when they end up in lesbos? what happens then? >> you know, for many, they think that their journey -- the worst part of their journey is over when they arrive in lesbos. but actually, their suffering is just about to begin. when they get on the beach, wet and often cold, they're helped by the volunteers. they are given dry clothes if dry clothes are available. and then they end up in these horrible camps, completely overcrowded with very little shelter and food, where they have to wait for days just to get a registration paper to get onto the boat to athens. and then they continue, sleeping out in the open with their children -- it's stunning to see how many babies are on this journey, and toddlers -- for day
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after day after day until they ultimately reach germany. and, you know, i think the real scandal is that we're now five months, a year into this crisis, that keeps growing, but there still is no organized eu response, both in terms of coherent refugee policies, but also in terms of saving lives at sea and meeting the humanitarian needs of these people. this is not an insurmountable task. i mean, ok, we're talking about a maximum of 8000 people a day, which seems like a huge number, but we handle those kind of crowds every day at rock concerts, at soccer matches. we do have the capacity to address these people's needs and to make this journey a lot more humane, but we're not. amy: how have the paris attacks complicated this whole situation, the horror for refugees? i wanted to turn just in the united states to donald trump, the -- one of the leading presidential candidates, republican candidates, speaking monday after the paris attacks.
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>> with all of the problems -- and you probably heard that at least one, and probably more, of the killers, the animals, that did what they did in paris, came out of the migration, right? they came out of the migration. so we have a president that wants to take hundreds of thousands -- hundreds of thousands of people and move them into our country. and we don't -- you know, think of it. and we don't even know who they are. there's no paperwork. there's no anything. amy: that's donald trump. peter bouckaert? >> well, i normally make a policy not to respond to such idiotic statements. but in reality, every syrian refugee who reaches the united states has gone through four levels of security review. these are the most carefully screened refugees anywhere in the world. and there have been no incidents
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with the hundreds of thousands of refugees that the u.s. has taken in over the years. the united states' values are built about being welcoming to refugees. and it's our most powerful tool in the war against islamic extremism, are our values. it's not our military planes and our bombs. the only way we can fight against this brutality, this barbarism, is with our values. and if we're going to shut the door on these refugees, we're giving a propaganda victory to isis. and i think that's exactly why they left a fake syrian passport at the scene of their attacks, because they would love it if we shut the door on the people who are fleeing their so-called islamic caliphate. amy: what happens to afghan refugees? >> you know, i think a lot of the focus has been on the syrian refugees and their plight. but as one afghan refugee told
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me, "the syrians have had four years of war, now coming onto five. we've had 40." and we should not ignore the plight of the people fleeing afghanistan. the taliban is resurgent in afghanistan. the islamic state is also targeting people there. and there's many abuses being committed by the northern alliance. but the afghan refugees also are fleeing from iran. there's millions of afghans who live in iran, and one of the reasons they're fleeing from iran, which is a very little-known fact, is that iran is actually forcibly recruiting them to go fight in syria. they're rounding up afghan refugees and giving them the choice between being deported back to afghanistan, a country many have not lived in for decades and fear, or being forced to go fight for assad in syria. amy: i want to continue on this track, this idea of what has caused people to flee and what our responsibility is, not just as human beings that are not attached except that we're humans and care about other
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human beings, but our responsibility for the cause of the refugee crisis. >> you know, i do think it's important for people to understand that the 2003 iraq invasion, and especially the very irresponsible policies which were put in place by the bush administration, played a very direct role in creating the islamic state. it ripped apart the iraqi state and allowed for the rise of islamic extremism. the only way we can respond to that is not just with a military strategy, and certainly not with brutality. i mean, we've seen that the kind of brutal policies pursued by the bush administration and rumsfeld and cheney utterly failed. they failed on the ground. they achieved nothing in terms of stabilizing iraq or dealing with the threat of islamic extremism. so, you know, i certainly
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understand that in the aftermath of the paris attacks people want to respond, they want to go strike against the islamic state, but we have to be smart and learn from our own history. and actually, our values, respect for human rights and welcoming refugees is an important part of fighting against the kind of islamic extremism that the islamic state represents. amy: peter bouckaert, you were one of the first to tweet the picture of the three-year-old boy. talk about his case, alan kurdi. >> you know, alan kurdi came from the city of kobani, which is completely destroyed, partly by the islamic state, but also by u.s. airstrikes in response to their takeover of the city. he set off -- amy: the city of kobani -- >> of kobani. amy: in syria. >> in syria. and he set off on one of these rubber boats and drowned alongside his mother and his brother.
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every day, two alan kurdis die on this journey. and, you know, the picture of alan kurdi certainly drew a lot of attention. it horrified us all. and for a brief moment, it united us in a sense that we have to do something about this crisis. well, we still have to do something about this crisis. and part of what we need to do about this crisis, the most important part, is making safe and legal ways for people to seek asylum, to get out of the horrors of war, to provide them with the opportunity to educate their children because those children represent the future of syria. and there -- just in turkey, there are 400,000 children, syrian children, out of school -- amy: explain. >> missing out on an education, having fled from syria. so we need to address this real crisis in the region. you know, even with the projections of the european union for 2015, 2016 and 2017,
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the refugees reaching europe would represent 0.4% of the population of europe. that's one out of 250 people. you know, in lebanon, one out of four people is a refugee, a syrian refugee. so europe is not being flooded by refugees and certainly the world is not being flooded by syrian refugees. we can -- this is not a capacity problem. it's a political problem. amy: explain what the u.s. should do. what are the numbers of refugees the u.s. has taken and should take? >> well, the u.s. takes 70,000 refugees a year, and many of them come from places like syria and somalia and iraq. president obama has now promised to take 10,000 more syrian refugees a year. those people will be carefully screened, and i am certain that they will contribute to american society. you know, i've been stunned by the number of doctors and
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engineers and business leaders that i've met on this journey. these people are not coming to take welfare. they want to come and contribute to our societies. they want to build a new future for themselves and for their children. and even in germany today, the people in the camps, the one thing they ask me for is language books. they want to learn the german language, get out of these camps and start their new lives. , amy: more than two dozen u.s. state governors have refused to accept syrian refugees after the paris attacks. this is one of them. this is texas governor greg abbott. >> the database on the syrian side simply does not exist. as a result, to the extent any syrian refugee is allowed into the country, we are playing the same game of risk that europe played with regard to the individual who entered europe, who then participated in the terroristic bombing of paris. as governor of the state of texas, i will not roll the dice and take the risk on allowing a
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few refugees in simply to expose texans to that danger. amy: that's governor abbott of texas. peter bouckaert of human rights watch? >> well, i think the facts speak for themselves. there's 70,000 refugees coming to the united states every year, and not a single one has been involved in a terrorist incident. the situation in europe is different. there is chaos right now in terms of the procedures, and europe does need to put together a coherent refugee policy to deal with these people and to screen them for security reasons. but the reality is that the u.s. has screening procedures in place and a coherent refugee policy, and that these people present no threat to the united states. amy: this is governor bentley of alabama. >> and i think the thing that i want to do as governor is to make sure the people of alabama are safe. and if there is any -- if there's even the slightest risk that the people who are coming in from syria are not the types of people that we would want
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them to be, then we can't take that chance. amy: that's alabama governor robert bentley. peter bouckaert? >> look, i can assure the governor that the people who are going to come from syria to the united states are exactly the kind of people that we will want to welcome to the united states. i've met many people on this journey who i would have loved to have as neighbors. they're people who are fleeing from conflict. and it's part of a long-standing u.s. tradition to welcome people who need refuge. amy: what do you think is the solution to the conflict in syria? conflict in syria is a very difficult conflict to resolve. it ultimately needs a political solution. aspects which is really important is to reassure various minority communities, including the christians and the assyrians and the yazidis, as well as the alawites, who are the power base of president bashar al-assad, that there is a
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future for them in syria because many of them are supporting the syrian government not because they like the policies of assad, but because they're fearful for the future. and they have every reason to be because if we look at what happened in iraq, many of these communities were wiped out. the yazidis and the christians just in the last year lost most of their villages. but there's other aspects as -- but there's other aspects as well. you know, two years ago, i helped organize a conference for women from syria in geneva, together with women's rights activist madeleine rees. and it was really the first time that women had had a voice in the peace process. you know, we brought this proposal to the diplomats, and they were like, "that's a great idea." amy: and what was the proposal? >> it was to have a conference of women to talk about what their vision was for the future of -- amy: and what was their vision? >> their vision was that women had to be around the table, that we could not just have men with guns around the table. but up to that stage, 50% of the
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population of syria, their voice had been completely ignored in the peace process for syria. and that happens time and time again. we need to make sure that not just the people with guns are around the table, that they don't just buy their chair at the table with blood, but that the moral voices from the community and women, civil society leaders who have such much more of a vision for the future of syria -- and the congo and all of these other conflicts -- are around the table with a voice. amy: you have said that you believe that this fake passport that was planted next to one of the gunmen in paris, that said they were from syria but in fact they weren't, was actually, you believe, a plan of isis to make the link. >> yes. you know, isis wants people to flock towards its islamic caliphate.
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so it really is a rejection of the ideology of isis when people are fleeing from the islamic caliphate. and i've met many people from deir ez-zor and raqqa and mosul who are fleeing the terror of isis. so isis does want to get europe to shut the door in the face of these refugees. it really helps isis a lot when muslims are being seen humiliated on the streets of europe. amy: and the response of france and the united states to bomb raqqa after the paris attacks, the incessant now bombing, and now russia is joining in bombing, after the russian jetliner, it's been shown, had a bomb on board. raqqa, hundreds of thousands of civilians live there still. >> yes. you know, there certainly, unfortunately, has to be probably a military component to confronting isis. but i think we constantly need to remind ourselves that we have a lot more in our arsenal than
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just planes and bombs. and it's very important to understand that our values as a society, values which are radically opposed to the barbarity of isis, values of human rights and respect for people's dignity and their lives, are our most important tool to fight against this kind of extremism. and what concerns me is that there's been so much focus on a military response, when actually this is a fight for the hearts and minds of people. and respect for human rights and dignity are fundamental to that. ,my: that is peter bouckaert human rights watch emergency director, came into this country for just two days and back to europe where he has been dealing with refugees, millions of refugees fleeing war in iraq, afghanistan, syria. he is covering it and you can go to our first part of our interview with him at democracynow.org.
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.e is originally from belgium when we come back, the mayor of new jersey's largest city joins us. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "air" by vijay iyer and the brentano string quartet. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: we turn now to the war here at home. 130 people died in the paris attacks, but on average, nearly 100 americans are killed in gun violence every day. we're joined now by the mayor of newark, new jersey's largest -- of newark, new jersey's largest city, mayor ras baraka. schools are under state control in the city has one of the highest murder rate in the country. amy: in a recent article on
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runningm, -- on an average day, nearly 100 americans are killed by guns. mayor ras baraka has called for stricter gun laws will stop elected in may 2014, is a long-time educator credited with turning around newark's central high school as principal from 2007 to 2014. his father, the late amiri baraka, was a global activist and noted poet. this is the first time mayor ras baraka joins us at our table and we welcome you to democracy now! it is great to have you with us, neighbor. so let's stop about the issue of gun control. you are one of the loudest proponents on this issue. it is a stunning fact, 100 americans every day die of gun
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violence. citiesshootings in these where i am the mayor and all over the country are growing higher and higher because of access to guns. in new jersey, fortunately, we have some stricter gun laws. we ban assault rifles. we ban magazines they carry certain amount of weapons, kind of bullets. we ban all of that. but impartially, they bring guns , come fromnd i-95 the southern part of the country into 14, 15-year-old kids are using them to solve disputes and creating murder and mayhem and our community. we have to have universal kind of gun laws that affect every state in every city not just a few. juan: have you been able and the time you been in office to have some kind of impact on the overall violence, especially
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murder rate in the city? >> sure. we first came in, we reduced the number of violent crimes the immediate year we came in. the first quarter, we reduced about 40% the year following. we witnessed a spike the summer as most major cities have witnessed, but we are still -- we are trying to get that under control. we're coming up with all kinds of strategies i think that help us reduce violence and crime and are committed these. juan: you have been in office 15 months. you were surprised viktor to the establishment of new jersey, the former mayor and senator cory booker did everything he could to back the candidate against do. what has it been like having to come up against the established powers in new jersey? >> it was a difficult fight. you're talking i spent -- outspent five to one in the money that was raised. i think the money came from way past folks then senator.
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it was more of the kind of school reform gods, also the establishment party, the democratic party at the time was also organized against us, so we used mostly labor and community activists and folks on the street to be able to make this election a victory. ,my: the justice department u.s. attorney for new jersey, did not investigate the newark released apartment and found 75% of the stops and checks of civilians were unconstitutional. 85% of them were black people, racially discriminatory. the investigation also found the newark police did engage in the use of excessive force and the newark police drug and gang units were engaged in criminal activity confiscating drugs and money of people they were arresting for their own use. how are you dealing with this? and can you talk about the police review board that you have established through executive order? why didn't come outside of that?
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will it expire the end of your term? >> we have a consent decree we are about to finish finalizing with u.s. attorneys office because of the findings where we have to have a monitor -- we're trying to get them in and out, we don't want a monitor for 10 to 15 years using taxpayer dollars to take care of that. the civilian complaint review board that we established through executive order is still being stood up, so it is not complete yet. it is the law according to us, and we're still negotiating with the state attorney general, u.s. attorney, trying to have a review board that is better than the ones across the country. one with subpoena an investigatory power. we are still fighting for that. once we get that established, i think the council will vote to make an ordinance, a law in our city. juan: speaking of outsiders affecting your city, your school system has been under state control for decades now.
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i wanted ask you about this whole issue because you ran, really one of your main plagues of your campaign was to bring back parental control into the schools. what has been the effect of the state control for all of these years? supposedly, they came in to make things better. >> that is what they always say. juan: what have you been able to do in a tiny have been in office to regain control of the public schools for the people? >> right now we have something called an educational success board that we created whose job it is to transition newark back into local control. i would imagine and about a year we should have control back after 20 years of state control, should be up to get local control back. i think the fight now is what local control is when look like. the players inside and outside the city have begun to put troops on the ground to push their idea of what local control should look like, whether it is
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charter schools, traditional schools, who is in charge, elected school board, appointed school board. that fight is really gearing up. amy: i want to ask you about the money that is gone into the new jersey schools or hasn't. of course, high dropout rates, low performing schools dating back to the takeover two decades ago. in republican governor chris 2010, christie, democratic mayor cory booker, and facebook founder mark zuckerberg joined forces to revamp the schools and made their announcement on the "oprah winfrey show." >> mayor booker, what is the big news? >> we have been talking for quite some time about creating a bold new paradigm for educational excellence in the country to show the way, to put the people of the city of newark and to the driver's seat in the focal point, and to work to get all of the assets and resources we need to give to them to succeed. >> governor christie, what are you committing to?
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>> i'm committing to changing the schools of the city where i was born. i spent the first years of my life will step mayor booker is going to be the point person, our lead guy in newark helping develop this entirely new plan of how to reform the education system in newark and create a national model. i am in charge of the public schools in the city of newark as governor. i will and power mayor booker to develop that plan and implement it with the superintendent of schools that we will put together. >> i think that is so fantastic. so, mr. zuckerberg, what role are you playing in all of this? are the rumors true, will there be a check offered at some point? >> yeah, i have committed to starting the start of education foundation whose first project will be $100 million challenge grant. >> $100 million? amy: a clip from "oprah" in 2010. despite trumpeting their plan as a model for national school reform, the story of what
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followed emerges as a cautionary tale. with matching funds from other donors, millions of dollars initially flowed not to the schools but to outside , consultants, most of them white and with no ties to newark's majority african-american community. some consultants made up to $1000 a day. while some students benefited from placement in the higher-funded charter schools, the newark school system's overall performance level fell even lower. well, last month democracy now! spoke to author dale russakoff who recounts the newark education reform effort from the beginning and recounts it in her new book, "the prize: who's in charge of america's schools?" she talked about how concerned newark parents organized against the educational changes, and described the role they played in electing our guest, mayor ras baraka. >> the political uprising ended up almost -- well, not single-handedly, but significantly helping to elect ras baraka, who was a high school principal who ran for
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mayor almost exclusively on a platform of stopping these reforms. and even of the education reform movement over finally and dollars into the campaign of his opponent, he won significantly just because of this grassroots uprising. amy: what happened? >> i think that is partly true, kind of simplifying it, but that is ultimately the case. they did put $5 million or more in my opponent's coffers will stop we kind of pushed for more democratic-controlled not over just education, but over the city period. more say so by those in newark, more control over our lives in the city and education was at the center of that. and it still is. amy: what happened to the $100 million? >> a lot of it went to consultants. 80 something million dollars of it went to teacher contracts, ,hich -- to get rid of tenure extend the day, give teachers
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bonuses, all caps of things like that. $80 million of it went toward teacher contract. not much went toward teacher training, went toward teachers and classrooms to give them better resources and opportunities for kids in the schools. money wasn't spent in that way in the beginning. hasink now because there been a lot of uproar and a lot of discussion and because we have a new person in charge of that and i became mayor, we began to talk about the last bit of money and how we get to spend that will stop hopefully, use it for the benefits of the children. just recently, we used it to help expand summer jobs. we gave teachers some money and we talked about giving teachers money in the classroom. they began to do that, create a pipe line for students to move from high school to college, begin talking about that. hopefully, trying to get them to use the remainder of that money for community schools, to invest in community schools. it is a struggle, but i think we're moving in the right direction.
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juan: when you see something like this with chris christie, mark zuckerberg, cory booker, talking about how they're going to reform the school system, supposedly the governor should have done it years ago since he was in charge of the school system, you have been an educator. you have actually done the reforming of one particular school. your reaction to seeing all of these experts on what is wrong with our public school system? >> i always say, you know, most people who talk about schools have never been in one besides the fact that they graduated from an elementary school or high school. the reality is, schools get better when a community supports them. that is why we agree with community schools because we had a community school model that in the kindthe nyu of work they've been doing in terms of community schools and stuff that is happen like that around the country. cincinnati, new york, patterson, new jersey, using community schools as a model to raise the kind of academic record of these
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schools by putting the whole community around the schools. it is important for us to do that. these other people that are saying all of these things about how to improve schools have no idea what they're talking about. they don't know anything in terms of social work or how to move kids from one place to the next place. what they're talking about is business, making money. what they're talking about has nothing to do with educating him people. amy: as we move into the next election year, and candidates are running, you rent a real uphill battle. what do you attribute your success to come how you buck the establishment? >> i think we at a long-standing kind of relationship with the community, number one. we have been in the community for a long time -- amy: you were a principal in the school for years. >> a principal, vice principal, teacher. people know my family, my
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father, my mother, my brothers. we have been organizing in the community for a long time. so that helped. as well as we have a serious ground kind of campaign of folks who are organizing and committed. i mean, we have a paid army. when a paid army. it army of folks that were committed to the ideals of what we were talking about. amy: we're talking to ras baraka , the mayor of newark, new jersey's largest city. we will be back with them in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: amiri baraka, the father of the mayor of newark, new jersey, ras baraka, who is our guest today. i am amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: last year, ras baraka was elected mayor of newark. i want to go to an excerpt of his victory speech.
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>> pay their fair share. mayor that will take us past brooks city and help us embrace our future. a mayor that will harness the power of small business, our universities, the promise of our seaport and airport to benefit the hundreds of thousands of us, i mayor that puts his city first. a mayor that never forgets how he got here. yeah. we need a mayor -- [applause] juan: that was back in 2014. what has surprised you since you have been in office? what did you not expect in the short time you have been in office so far? >> i don't know if anything surprises me. i think i've been ideologically and politically prepared for
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what to expect when i got an a place. i think we'll to milley, the surprising -- ultimately, what can be most surprising is the idea that we have not discovered how to get exactly what we need in these cities, the problems that have existed and how intrinsic they are, for the last 50, 60 years. and how people have accepted, you know, these kind of systemic problems. they figure poverty existed before you got there, will exist when you leave. inequality existed before you got there, will exist when you leave. really no need to be your self up and try to fix these problems that ultimately, can't get you elected or unelected. these are the things that surprised me that their people in positions of power and bureaucrats who believe these kinds of things, who have been there forever. juan: i want to ask you about your relationship with governor chris christie and also senator
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cory booker. governor christie a think one of the first times he met you called to a hostile person. how has that gone since? >> christie, think lives in his own mind. the reality is, the meeting we had was nothing close to hostile. i think that was to play out to his supporters, which is what he does every time he says something on the tv or radio. ultimately, i think that he is completely, and my mind, out of touch with what needs to happen in these inner cities and urban centers in america. i think he completely has no idea what to do. as a matter fact, i think the thing csm has inhibited growth in these cities for the most part. and our relationship has been a matter of fact can of relationship. if i need something, he needs something, so it is in transactional and nothing other than that. juan: and cory booker? >> cory booker, interestingly
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enough, we of been working together since i became the mayor and he was the u.s. senator -- some of our issues have definitely coalesced around gun control, one of them, prison reentry, criminal justice reform. we have been working together around those specific things. i think the senate was a better suited for him. he could fit that a little better. we have been working together around those specific issues. amy: in historical context, i want to go back to 2007 1 we attribute your father on the 40's anniversary of the 1967 uprising in newark. he talked about the historical roots of what happened. >> you have to start with slavery because those abuses have never been eradicated. people not living in slums because they voted to come you know, their children not in jail because they wanted them to. these are the results of people who have been oppressed and suffer national oppression.
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whicha city like no work, is the third oldest city in the united states, by the way, were all of these kinds of abuses sort of converge, you know, and the racism on top of that, you know, i mean, one absurd example is one time i was directing a intoand the police rushed the loft and the man asked he took the script out of my hands as if it was some kind of volatile weapon. amy: that was the great poet amiri baraka. newark is about to celebrate its 350th anniversary. you talked about changing the prison system, the problems every entry. trillions of dollars is going into war right now globally. difference would it make if that money stayed home in a city like yours, one of the poorest in the country? >> an immense difference.
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we have been talking the last couple of months about an urban marshall plan, about cities not being able to benefit even from the new deal. segregation and racism are at the height of the time of the new deal with a left cities and they subsidized these corridors that the people in the suburbs, got work in the inner cities. now you see the trend back to the cities has been real neglect in these communities. neighborhoods i have lived in that looked the same way for the last five decades, buildings that have been hollowed out, vacant lots of stuff i mean, destroyed. unless they put a bunch of money and region to frying the community, nothing changes in terms of the way people have been there for decades. my family has been in newark on most 100 years. nothing is been given to those folks, job training, job development, infrastructure redevelopment, roads, bridges, highways, hospitals, schools,
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putting people to work, giving people jobs and decent education. all of that is necessary in a democracy and to move america forward. i think america will never be what they purport it to be until they begin to invest and urban centers and in order for them to do that, they have to get rid of the racism, which disallows them from investing in these cities the way they ought to. if we had that money, there would be a lot we could do in terms of poverty in these communities him in terms of violence and gun violence -- which is really bred by poverty and isolation and anger, you know, post-traumatic stress. all of that stuff can be dealt with if we had that money. , thank you for being with us. the mayor of newark, new jersey, elected in may 2014. the city is about to celebrate anniversary. that does it for our broadcast. if you like a copy of today's show, go to democracynow.org.
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